Easter Buns/ Lenten Loaves (Vegan)
(Hot or cold, with or without crosses: you choose! These are vegan so they count as fasting food.)
375 g (3 cups) white flour
200 g (1.5 cups) almond meal
3 level Tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
200 g (2 cups) mixed fruit
125 ml (1/2 cup) warm water
250 ml (1 cup) soy, rice, oat or almond milk
1 level Tbsp dry yeast
2 Tbsp brown sugar
125 g (1 cup) white flour
Dough for crosses: 2 Tbsp flour (use what’s left from making the bun dough), mixed to a softish dough with 1 Tbsp water. Roll into a long sausage and cut off required lengths and dip in water before forming crosses on unbaked buns.
Method One: Use your bread-maker to prepare fruit dough, then skip to step 5.
Method Two: Hand-made dough (way more fun).
1: Mix sugar with water in a large bowl – it should be pleasantly warm but not hot. Sprinkle the yeast over the sugar-water and allow to stand for about 10 minutes, until the yeast has started to work, forming a light froth on top of the water.
2: Stir in the milk, salt, almond meal and mixed spice. Sift in 3 cups of the flour and stir, then knead the flour into the dough. Knead in the mixed fruit.
3: Sprinkle some of the remaining cup of flour onto a clean board or bench, tip the dough out onto the flour. Scrape the bowl as clean as practicable – you will be returning the dough to the bowl to rise. Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding flour as required to stop the dough sticking.
4: Once the dough is quite smooth and elastic, form it into a ball and replace it in the bowl. Cover with a clean, damp tea-towel or paper towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 – 2 hours or until double in bulk (30-40 degrees C is ideal, eg. an oven turned on for 5 mins then off again).
5: Punch the dough down gently and turn out onto work surface. Cut dough into two and form two long sausage-shaped rolls. You can bake the bread as loaves, or if you prefer buns, divide each loaf into six pieces and fold them in on themselves several times until the top is smooth.
6: Place buns or loaves on a lightly oiled baking tray, cover with dry tea-towel or paper towels and allow to double in bulk again (about 1 hour). Add dough crosses at this stage.
6a: Preheat the oven to 210˚C while buns or loaves are rising.
7: Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 210˚C, until bread is gently browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped.
8: Brush while still hot with glaze made of two tablespoons sugar dissolved in two tablespoons of hot water. Crosses made of icing should be added after glazing, once the rolls have cooled.
Allow to cool on a rack… but you will probably want to eat these before they get completely cold.